“Nigeria’s Struggle with Media Freedom: Upholding Democracy Amidst Govt Pressure” by Obi Nwakanma


The tradition of Naumachia, recorded by Roman historians Suetonius and Tacitus, offers a poignant analogy for Nigeria’s current state. Prisoners, condemned to enact naval battles before the emperor, declared “Ave, Imperator! Morituri te Salutamus!” (“Hail Emperor! We who are about to die salute you!”). This tragic salute reflects a sense of powerlessness and fate, echoing the sentiments of many Nigerians today.

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Lamenting Lost Hope
The recent decision by the Nigerian Senate, under the leadership of Akpabio, to revive the old national anthem speaks volumes. It reflects a longing for a bygone era when Nigeria was full of hope and promise. Today, however, Nigeria finds itself mired in darkness, a far cry from its once lofty aspirations.

In the past year of Tinubu’s presidency, Nigeria has regressed further. Tinubu’s leadership has been provincial, lacking the cosmopolitan wisdom needed to govern a diverse nation. His administration’s misguided priorities, such as changing the national anthem, do nothing to address the urgent challenges facing Nigeria.

The Need for Structural Reform
Tinubu’s obsession with undoing Obasanjo’s legacy further complicates matters. This petty feud distracts from the real issues plaguing Nigeria. Instead of symbolic gestures, Nigeria requires substantive reform to address its structural deficiencies.

One potential solution lies in restructuring Nigeria’s administrative framework. Returning to the regional model of the First Republic could provide a more efficient and effective governance structure. By reducing the number of states and empowering the civil service, Nigeria can combat corruption and enhance developmental capacity.

The Imperative of a Reformed Civil Service
The civil service plays a critical role in Nigeria’s security and governance. However, decades of mismanagement and corruption have undermined its effectiveness. To restore trust and professionalism, Nigeria must prioritize meritocracy in civil service appointments and provide adequate support and incentives for civil servants.

Additionally, ending the quota system and embracing diversity within the civil service will promote unity and excellence. The current system has fostered mediocrity and disenchantment, leading to the erosion of public trust and the capture of state institutions by vested interests.

A Call to Action
As Nigeria grapples with these challenges, the Tinubu administration must reassess its priorities and focus on meaningful reform. The future of Nigeria depends on its ability to address systemic issues and empower its citizens. Anything less condemns us to a fate akin to those tragic figures in the Naumachia, resigned to our own demise.

Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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